Mel Cort ’23
Living through the odd circumstances of this past year, many LGBTQ+ students have had to deal with being Queer while isolated in a virtual setting or have turned to taking temporary refuge in the closet when back home with family. Being on campus and away from familial settings offers a reprieve from the expectations of loved ones. Often, such a setting provides a space for students to express themselves as authentically as possible.
In past years, a big contributor to this sense of freedom and self-exploration here at Mercersburg Academy has been the recognition and celebration of Queer Pride during the month of June. Hosting off-campus Pride celebrations entered the discussion, which would surround students with Queer joy and a sense of community. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions and the shortened timeline of the 2021 school year, these plans have shifted.
“I wish we could take kids to a parade or a drag show—maybe after COVID,” comments Christian Bancroft, the main faculty organizer for Pride month events. “It’s also tricky because those events, as they relate to Pride, are all in June. That’s after students depart.”
Pride celebrations are held annually in June to commemorate the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots, which became a symbol of resistance to discrimination against Queer groups. Although the timeline of Mercersburg Pride will not line up with this occasion, the spirit shall remain. With flags sprouting up in spots across campus and informational posters in bathroom stalls, Mercersburg Pride is focusing on education and recognition of Queer victories and experiences.
“I really appreciate the bathroom signs,” says Dorothy Skuba Gray ‘23. “It’s sweet that they spread awareness to the general study body about Queer contributions that can often go overlooked.” The posters, which feature LGBTQ+ people of importance and pieces of Queer trivia, were compiled by Bancroft and Maria Akaras ’24 of the Pride Planning Committee.
Along with the educational materials, a Pride celebration full of music, food, and trivia is planned for May 28. Pride is coming early to Mercersburg, and the lively events and enthusiasm will be on campus—just in May!